Friday, November 2, 2007

Smoke Trees and Designer Shrubs

It might be kind of hard to see in this picture but I would like to talk about two shrubs. The first is the yellow one in the middle of the picture, and the second is to the right of the yellow one just left of the vine. Gray stems are showing on the second shrub and if you look closely you can see purple leaves on it as well. Both shrubs are Cotinus coggyria, aka Smoke Tree or Bush.

Having lived in Europe for a good many years I was able to enjoy beautiful specimens of smoke trees and have always loved them. Of course, my garden needed a smoke tree. I planted the purple smoke tree three years ago and it has bloomed only once. This spring was a setback to it after the freeze and I really thought it was a goner. I decided to dig it up from out front and plant it here. The roots were very very long and I was astonished. It has recovered nicely and should start doing better.

Now the first shrub, the yellow one, is a new addition and really the subject of this entry. I was browsing in Lowes when I came upon it in a pot marked "Designer Shrubs". The cultivar is 'Golden Spirit' because of the lovely golden color. Designer shrubs, in my opinion, have been developed to cater to very specific gardening desires. In this case a trend for the past four or five years has been to get new colors into gardens, namely purples, yellows, reds, chartreuse and variegated plants that are different from the normal green and which make a statement. I love the different and gravitate toward the yellows. Yellows seem to make my shady garden come to life. I also like contrasts. Thus the yellow 'Golden Spirit' is paired with its cousin, the purple smoke tree. I can't wait until they both fill in and begin blooming. Smoke trees are called smoke trees because the bloom looks like a puff of smoke. It is quite the picture and if you have never seen one in bloom you should!

The next time you are out shopping look for some "Designer Shrubs" of your own to light up your landscape. There are colors to suit just about everyone's taste in plants so give one a try.

in the garden....

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting!
    I do not recall Smoke trees from Europe but am sure they were there and I did not notice them...